Am I the only one disturbed by the opening paragraph of this story in the Washington Post?
A 10th-grade student in southern Prince George's County who allegedly attacked a biology teacher with a baseball bat during a class this week faces expulsion and possible criminal prosecution, a school system spokesman said yesterday.
Did you see that – “possible criminal prosecution”? What the hell is this “possible” crap? A teacher was physically assaulted with a deadly weapon in his classroom by a student. If this creep were to have done this to a random person on the street there would be no question of prosecution and he would already be some career criminal’s new girlfriend. Instead, we get this report.
According to [Prince George's schools spokesman John] White, the male student entered a biology classroom about 1 p.m. Wednesday and allegedly attacked the teacher in front of other students shortly before the class was to be dismissed. A witness said the assailant wore a ski mask, according to the Associated Press.
The suspect had been enrolled in a biology class with the teacher, but not during that period.
White said campus security officers caught the student as he was fleeing the classroom. He was questioned and released to his parents.
White said the teacher was treated at Southern Maryland Hospital Center in Clinton for bumps and bruises, including injuries to the face, head, shoulders and hands. The teacher was released late Wednesday and was recuperating at home, White said.
White declined to identify the student or the teacher. He said the teacher was a 28-year veteran of the school system who had been at Gwynn Park for more than a decade.
"It's unfortunate and unexpected," White said. "It's not a routine occurrence. That's why it's shocking."
WJLA television identified the teacher as Dario Valcarcel, who was listed on a school Web site as a science faculty member.
The school principal did not return a telephone call for comment. Messages left at a residential phone number for Valcarcel were not immediately returned.
Look at the stuff I put in bold there. “Injuries to the face, head, shoulders and hands” – in other words, an assault designed to incapacitate and/or kill Mr. Valcarcel and injuries sustained as he attempted to defend himself from what could reasonably be classified as ATTEMPTED MURDER. But all that happened to the perpetrator was being sent home with mommy and daddy! Why were the police not called in immediately so that an investigation could begin immediately and would-be killer arrested on the spot?
And you will notice the little bit at the end of the article about neither the principal nor the teacher responding o telephone calls seeking comment. My guess is that there will be none, at least if things operate as they do in my district. Only the district spokesperson and superintendent are permitted to speak to the media – we are even required to wear a little card along with our IDs that tell us that in the event of media contact we are required to report the matter to our supervisor, who will then contact our district spokesperson. The card also gives us the sum total of what we are allowed to say to the media under such circumstances – “You need to speak to the director of communications, Olga Obfuscation. Her cell phone number is XXX-XXX-XXXX.” Any further comment is grounds for disciplinary action, up to and including termination.
How long will it be until teacher safety is taken seriously in this country? Why are reports to the police not automatic and immediate? Why the secrecy surrounding incidents in the schools – like the one several years ago in my district in which an assistant principal was knifed breaking up a fight (fortunately with no serious harm)? Will it be necessary for another teacher to be driven from the classroom from Post-Traumatic Stress, to be permanently disabled, or to be killed?
Do we as educators need to speak out to raise the issue more clearly? Or will it take a nationwide walkout for teacher safety – and I ask that as a teacher in a state where such actions are illegal and grounds for both termination and sanctions against our certification.
Or are we just expected to continue be low-paid functionaries whose safety is irrelevant to our employers?
(10/22/05 -- I'm linking this to several "Open Trackback" posts around the web. Welcome to visitors from Cao's Blog, Jo's Cafe, MacStansbury, Cafe Oregano, Basil's Blog, Adam's Blog, Mudville Gazette, Publius Rendevous, Obligatory Anecdotes, Indepundit, The Political Teen, TMH's Bacon Bits, Vince Aut Morire, Two Babes and a Brain, Point Five, and My Vast Right Wing Conspiracy.)